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The Freshman Plague

It’s everywhere. In all of the classrooms and libraries, the dining hall, and even in my own room, the sounds continue to follow me around wherever I go. The noise haunts me and persistently reminds me of its widespread prevalence. One minute, I’m listening to my Cultural Anthropology professor lecture about cultural relativism. The next minute, her words are completely drowned by the deafening ruckus of coughing (almost to the point of hacking), sneezing, and sniffling. The influx of these noises resonate not only throughout the auditorium, but throughout the entirety of the school campus. It’s the Freshman Plague. And it doesn’t only affect the freshmen.

It’s been a little over three weeks since move-in day, and it’s been a completely new experience for me. Aside from being bombarded with orientation events and mountains of school work, I’ve also been completely surrounded by germs. Without a doubt, college is a prime time to discover what you’re passionate about, explore your personal identity, and connect with both students and faculty. Unfortunately, it’s also a prime time for your immune system to be compromised. All of the students are in close contact with each other, especially when everyone is squished together on overcrowded buses. This close proximity encourages students to meet others and make new friends, but it unfortunately also fosters the rapid spread of germs. Certain illnesses such as colds and upper-respiratory infections are especially widespread on college campuses.

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How to Prevent the Plague?

Now comes the essential question: What can you do to prevent this plague from affecting you?

1. Obviously, you should always wash your hands with soap and water, but this cannot be emphasized enough! Countless students cough or sneeze into their hands, and it’s absolutely essential that these germs are not transmitted to others.

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2. Use hand sanitizer. I personally carry my strawberry-scented hand sanitizer in my backpack. There should also be hand sanitizer dispensers throughout your school.

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3. Make sure that you have an adequate intake of vitamin C! I have several oranges stored in my room and a huge jar of vitamin C supplements from Costco.

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4. Make sure you get enough sleep!

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Despite these preventative measures, it is still possible that you become sick. In this case, make sure to get enough rest! Although schoolwork should be a top priority, keep in mind that your health should always come first. The plague unfortunately infected both my roommate and me, but a good night of sleep did wonders on us both!

5 Common Ways Germs are Spread. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2016, from

Edited by: Ruby Halfacre, Naomi D’Arbell, and Arsylene Chery